A Game Review of the Nintendo Wii 'Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2012' by 'Jeremy Hardin' (JHardin1112)
In Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2012, players take on the role of an experienced hunter as they travel across the globe and take part in the journey of a lifetime to hunt record-sized trophy game.
A Review by Jeremy Hardin (JHardin1112)
Game - Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2012
Version - Wii
Obtained - Review Copy courtesy of Activision
In Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2012, players take on the role of an experienced hunter as they travel across the globe and take part in the journey of a lifetime to hunt record-sized trophy game. The question remains, is it worth the entry fee?
Gameplay and Controls
You are greeted in the beginning by a video clip in the snowy wilderness where you are tracking a very large bear. Just as you are about to take your fatal shot, another hunter appears in your line of sight and fires on the bear. No surprise, it doesn't end well for said hunter. Next up, your character is shown running over to the injured man. As you are checking on him, the bear surprises you from behind and rears back on it's hind legs in a fighting stance. You make ready to take a last minute shot and the scene ends. This is how the game begins. What happens next doesn't really give much explanation, but I figure what begins to take place is really the prologue. The basic premise of the game is that you, a world class hunter, are invited by an eccentric millionaire to compete in a world wide big game trophy hunt. Your goals are given to you at the beginning of each level and they usually consist of taking down a certain trophy animal. However, you are also given optional tasks such as, bagging "x" amount of small game or defending yourself against predatory animals. These optional tasks can/will be completed as you progress through each of the main levels. Of course, your secondary goal is to earn as much money as possible which enables you to purchase weapon upgrades. In order to take down the trophy animal you can take advantage of the multiple routes, rather than being forced to stay on one path. This option allows you to use higher ground or even bushes as cover to help you gain the advantage. To help you track the trophy animal, you have several options at your disposal. First up is Detection Mode, which allows you to find and examine animal tracks. While in Detection Mode, you can also see the extra monetary value above Rests and Blinds, should you choose to utilize them. Another good way to earn extra money is by using your camera to take photos of the animals. Throughout the levels are photo challenges which earn you more cash and points. Another great tool at your disposal is the caller, which is used to lure animals into the open and away from the herd for a clean shot and masterful kill. I found the Universal Tracking Device (UTD) to be most helpful. The UTD alerts you if you are spotted. A high pitched beeping indicates that you need to find cover. This helped me out as I am the type of player who just runs and guns when I am being impatient.
Let's talk a bit about guns!
For each mission there is a recommended firearm. Using the money you have earned from previous missions, you can purchase upgrades for your gun, such as larger ammo clips, silencers, bolts etc. Now, when you are looking down the scope, ready to make your kill you have a tried but true option to help you out, holding your breath. When you press A and hold your breath, everything slows down into a "bullet-time" kind of effect in which you can better line up your shot. This allows you to pinpoint vital organs on your target for the quickest take down. Another new addition for Big Game Hunter 2012 is the inclusion of bullet trajectories. The path of your ammo is affected by wind and gravity. There will be a red marker on your trophy which indicates the true place of impact in these situations. Along the same lines as this, there is another small gameplay addition - Target of Opportunity. As you are walking along, large game may come running out, crossing your path and you can rack up bonus points if you take it down within the small window of time.
Now, one area in the first levels I played through had me tracking a deer or moose (one or the other) and as I was tracking them, I came across mountain lion tracks. After I radioed the discovery in, my new mission became to take down the mountain lion to earn a big reward. So the tone immediately goes from relaxed to tense and I'm looking around as I make my way through the level, just waiting for the cat to come at me from nowhere. Of course, this happens as I'm passing by some bushes. Thankfully, the game is setup to give you some help as you are directed on how to kill the animal and are given a few extra seconds to do so before it makes you its dinner. Yeah, it kind of holds your hand but it's still intense for a few seconds there and you can still screw it up, which I did more than once.
I had mentioned previously about hunting small game throughout each level. Let me just say that it reminds me of duck hunt and I really get a kick out of getting the small game. I'll find myself walking through a level with my shotgun at the ready, only to have ducks fly out from some bushes, or rabbits come racing across my path. I enjoyed being able to pick off a group of them with the shotgun and earn a higher score. It is a small addition to the game, but a worthy one nonetheless.
Aside from the main game, there is also the shooting gallery. In the Galleries you can play solo or compete against your friends in an on-rails hi score competition. You can earn either 1, 2 or 3 stars upon completion. All comprehensive list of stats is recorded and displayed at the end of each level. It's fairly fast paced, the one level I tried out and the animals are all over, so you have plenty of opportunities to rack up a hi-score. Plus, there are even secret areas if you activate them in time.
Now that I have gone on about the gameplay, it is time for me to discuss the controls, briefly. You control the game like any other FPS shooter, for the most part. Aiming is done with the Wiimote and your on-screen target cursor. To shoot you press B, reload is the + button. You control your movements with the nunchuk and the C button is used to crouch. You must press down on the D-Pad to enter Detection mode, but remember this will slow you down considerably. In order to examine animal tracks Another helpful feature of detection mode is that it alerts you to certain areas which may cause more noise, thus in turn scaring your trophy. These areas are highlighted in red in Detection Mode. When you are aiming your gun, press and hold A to hold your breath and steady your shot. For the most part, holding your breath is a limited action which runs out after just a few seconds. The exception to this rule is when you take advantage of a rest or blind, this allows you to hold your breath for an unlimited time. You will find this most helpful when taking a shot under time constraints or when your trophy is running away.
Visuals and Sound
There are various locations throughout the game, each of which is populated with small and large game. The landscapes/foliage/etc all look fairly decent and the animals themselves look quite good. Working within the limitations of the Wii, I think the team did a good job on the graphics/visuals. The sounds can get a bit repetitive, for instance, in Mexico I kept hearing a rattlesnake over and over, but no matter which direction I went the sound never got any more quite or loud. This is just me nitpicking, it isn't necessary but I'm sure you can agree, it would have been nice. As a staple in the Cabela games I'm glad to see the bullet cam come back again. Every time you take a fatal shot, the camera follows the bullet in a slower speed until it hits the animal. I always thought this was a neat point of view in hunting/shooting games. My only real complaint overall is the framerate. Throughout the game there are areas where the framerate dips a little, but never for too long. The area where I noticed this the most was in the Gallery. You could just simply overlook it and for the most part, I did. However, there were times when the framerate would dip that I felt a bit removed from the gaming experience. Other than this one issue, I was pleased with the graphics and sounds.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Big Game Hunter 2012 is an enjoyable game for sure, one which targets a particular group. At first, I thought it was just hunters or hunting enthusiasts. Now, after having played the game for several hours, I believe it has successfully targeted me - the FPS fan. I'm not saying I'm going to go out and buy hunting games from now on just because they make them, but I have a better appreciation for Big Game Hunter 2012. If you are a fan of the previous titles in the franchise or are new to the series, or even if you are like me and enjoy FPS's, you should really give this game a try.
Final Score: 4 out of 5
Again many thanks to 'JHardin1112' for his great reviews!